The Bible says the "mark of the beast" will be compelled on everyone globally. Does this leave people condemned forever, as most Christians understand the mark? A verse in Revelation 14 certainly seems to support this, but would that scenario be fair to people under the deception of Antichrist's "strong delusion" as Paul called it? Discover the true cost of accepting the Antichrist's mark, based on the consensus of Scripture, plus the passage that clearly shows some will survive the mark (and God's wrath) and be set free in the Millennium...
The Antichrist's "mark of the beast" is one of several disturbing prophecies in the Book of Revelation that actually lead many Christians to simply refuse to read the book altogether. I doubt most Christians see themselves ever taking the mark. Either they expect to be taken out in a fantastical "pretrib rapture" before it comes, or they think that if they are still here, they plan to employ Nancy Reagan's 80's anti-drug campaign strategy of "Just say 'no'" to the mark. (That won't work well as, unlike drugs, the mark will be promoted with torture.)
However, when it comes to our loved ones who we perceive to not be walking very close to God (or as close as we would like), it's a different situation. A major portion of the inquiries I receive from people relate to concerns about the present salvation or end time survival of a spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend. Here's a typical example:
Hi, Tim! ...I'm a bit unhappy at the moment...reading your article about the three resurrections had really made me feel happy. I was so relieved to hear that there will still be a chance for my parents, who died long ago, as well as for some other family and friends of mine. However, these past two days I've been struggling with this Bible passage (Rev 14:9-11):
Revelation 14:9-11 —"If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name"
Especially the words "forever and ever" and "no rest, day or night" scare the hell out of me. (Sorry for the pun.) And here is why: not only am I scared for my sister and my friends, I've also spoken about end time prophecy with my son....[whose] faith is not as strong as mine.... Can you give me some comfort or do you think it's true that he will suffer for eternity if he takes the mark of the beast? One thing I know for sure: I will never be able to enjoy my own glorified body and the eternal life that comes with it if my son is tortured day and night before my own eyes...
I'm sure many readers share similar concerns about loved ones taking the mark of the beast...or even also for themselves. When you read a passage like this, then it becomes even more real how final taking the mark seems to be, that it must be avoided at all costs.
How do we make sense of this? That passage seems pretty clear in describing continual torment forever for those with the mark...or does it?
All Take the Mark—Except God's "Elect"
In case you are not yet concerned about the mark, let me address a couple common Christian misconceptions mentioned above that lend themselves to this apathy about the mark of the beast.
Firstly, most Christians think they are going to be rescued in a "pretrib rapture." They generally believe this not because they proved it in their own Bible (which most have never read, let alone studied), but because A) this is what they were taught, B) most people believe this so it feels safe in the majority and C) it's what we all emotionally want to be true—no "beatings for Jesus' bride." However, the teaching of the Bible is that the rapture comes post-tribulation or pre-God's wrath at the "last trump" (Mt 24:29-31=2Th 2:3=1Co 15:52). So the saints will indeed be on earth when the mark is introduced.
Secondly, for some reason, some doubt that the mark is enforced everywhere. They think God will protect the saints wherever they are, in "pockets" of resistance despite the Antichrist. They miss how the Bible teaches that the Antichrist is quite successful at compelling almost everyone to take the mark, except for those "whose name is written in the book of life" (Rev 13:8). Note that any attempt to hide out from the mark will fail because the demonic locusts of Rev 9=Joel 2 break into every dwelling (Joel 2:9=Rev 9:3).
Who are these protected people named in the book of life? Other prophecies tell us that there are two categories of them. One group is clearly the 144,000 sealed with special "mobile protection" and sent throughout the Earth "preaching the Gospel as a witness" (Mt 24:14). The other group is called "The Woman" and sent on from Jerusalem to be protected in her "place in the wilderness," apparently located in modern day Jordan since Edom, Moab and Ammon are named in the Bible as the only places the Beast will not control:
Revelation 13:7-8,16-17 — 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Daniel 11:41 — He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon..
Revelation 12:13-14,17 — 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ [i.e. The 144,000, c.f. Rev 14:12].
(See my book on Wormwood for more details on all this.)
"Even the Jews" Will Fight Christ At Jerusalem
Unfortunately, even Israel is unable to resist the Antichrist. Despite many following its national religion of Judaism, Israel is a secular nation with a mostly secular population like every other nation today. Because they abandoned God millennia ago, they do not receive an exemption from the Beast's deception (not counting those righteous individuals who come out from the nation).
In fact, Israel will be overrun by his armies first. The Antichrist takes control of Jerusalem to stop the sacrifices and setup the abomination (Mat 24:15 = Luke 21:20). This means that the State of Israel will ratify the Mark of the Beast as well. We are told that "even/also Judah" (which is the tribe who Israel today chiefly consists of) "will fight against Jerusalem" (Zech 14:14 RSV/ERV) with the rest of all the nations armies gathered there to oppose the arrival of the Messiah. This makes perfect sense if they, like all others, have been deceived by the Antichrist, to believe that he is the true god:
Zechariah 14:2-3, 14 (RSV) — 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle... 14 even Judah will fight against Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the nations round about shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance.
By the way, some people have trouble seeing Judah as a bad guy at Christ's return, fighting "against" Jerusalem/the LORD because most Bible versions do not help the reader out by saying Judah "fights against Jerusalem" (Zec 14:2,14 ERV) but say "fight at Jerusalem" (Zec 14:2, 14 NIV). However, "against" is a defensible choice because 1) all nations have the mark of the beast and are under his mind control and 2) Judah is included in "all nations" not excepted and 3) God fights against "those nations." Notice that Judah is not named in verse 14 as an exception as "(but not Judah!)" It's named as "also/even Judah." That's probably because it's so surprising that Judah fights the take-over of its capital city by the LORD.
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
Reason #1 That The Mark is Not Eternal Damnation
In summary, the bad news is that the mark of the beast goes worldwide, with the exception of tiny Jordan where the saints are gathered. The only good news is that the Great Tribulation lasts only 1260 days.
So what happens after that? What becomes of everyone?
If we keep reading in Zechariah, there is a curious passage answering that, one which helps us resolve our problem passage in Revelation 14:
Zechariah 14:16 (RSV) — Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths.
Somehow, there will be "survivors" of the Great Tribulation even though their nations fought against Jerusalem/Christ! I doubt few Christians ever noticed this passage. But it's key and definitely problematic for the prevailing Christian concept about the finality of the mark of the beast because we already established above that anyone in all nations outside Jordan who are still alive had to accept the mark, or be beheaded (Rev 20:4).
Who are these people? If the people who go up to fight at Jerusalem are wiped out by the sword that comes out of Jesus' mouth (Rev 19:15), then these can only be the rest of the people of "all nations" who were unfit for battle. They therefore did not go up as part of the armies to fight against Messiah and die. Yet, we know they still had to have the mark of the beast.
Nevertheless, there is no indication that these people are eternally condemned for having the mark, as most Christians would expect. They are actually keeping God's festivals under the Messiah during the Millennium! If everyone who takes the mark is condemned and unredeemable, then why are they keeping up the charade of obeying God? Better yet, why are they not in the lake of fire with the demons who really are damned? This passage makes no sense if the mark is the "unpardonable sin" that most assume it to be.
Reason #2 That The Mark is Not Eternal Damnation
When we see clear evidence elsewhere in Scripture that contradicts how we understood a passage that seemed "clear and simple enough" before, it's time to go back to it and see if we missed anything. At these times, it's very helpful to bear in mind that God on purpose throws curve balls in the Bible to hide the meaning from the majority, especially when it comes to the "mysteries of the kingdom" (Mt 13:10-13). God made the Bible hard on purpose and it is to the glory of kings (which we will be in the future) to search it out (Pr 25:2). He's testing our persistence and forcing us to exercise our brains if we want the truth.
Challenge accepted =)... so, let's look again:
Revelation 14:9-11 — 9 ...If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark... 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...
Firstly, let's understand the context to this passage: the wrath of God. What is that? We know from Revelation 15-16 that right after the end of the tribulation and rapture, the seven bowls of the wrath of God begin (lasting ten days). This matches the fire and brimstone mentioned since the Sun goes seven times hotter and 100 pound hailstones fall on people, etc.. So for this limited time period of God's wrath, those who took the mark (outside the Woman's protected place in Jordan) will be tormented and literally unable to catch a break or a wink of sleep, let alone basic rest.
Secondly, it's crucial to note that it never says that "the torment lasts forever." What it says is that the "smoke of the torment ascends forever." That should cause you to pause because, according to basic physics, smoke does not rise forever. It eventually cools and dissipates. As you pause to think, you may perceive that perhaps this passage is not meant literally at all (breaking the laws of physics) but is an idiomatic expression or idiom. An idiom is a figure of speech not meant literally, such as "It's raining cats and dogs."
If you then do a basic cross reference check on this passage, you will be rewarded. Isaiah uses a similar phrase to describe the judgment on Edom:
Isaiah 34:9-10 — 9 And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch. 10 Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.
Notice the parallels to Revelation with the "day and night" and "smoke rising forever" language? We know from history that Edom was destroyed. It's safe to say that there is no eternal, smoking fire still burning in modern day Jordan for thousands of years now. If there were, it would be on the news or social media by now how firefighters are unable to put out this strange eternal smoking fire. Common sense dictates that this must not be meant literally but is a figurative idiom in the biblical Hebrew.
That the church fathers say Revelation was written in Hebrew would help explain why the writer of Revelation might use an existing construct in prophetic language to emphasize how bad the judgment will be on those with the mark. Edom was judged harshly by fire and the kingdom of the Antichrist will likewise be judged harshly by fire. That's the point here, not that there's a magical fire that burns forever nor smoke that rises forever.
Taking the Mark: Worst Part? Missing the Rapture
To recap again, taking the mark of the beast does not bring a penalty of "eternal punishment day and night forever." It results in ten days of torment that end when Jesus returns. That's actually punishment #2.
However, at the start of those ten days is the rapture and the resurrection of the "dead in Christ" (Rev 20:5). If you are sporting the mark of the beast, you definitely are not saved and not taken up in the rapture. You are passed over and left on earth to suffer God's wrath. Missing the rapture to the kingdom of God is punishment #1. That's really the worst part of taking the mark, watching the rapture happen and pass you by and then during the Millennium being reminded of your failure as those who were raptured and glorified are telling you what to do. (That might smart for longer than ten days for a lot of people.)
In fact, missing out on the rapture is why the next verses in Revelation strangely say, "blessed are the dead" in the context of the mark of the beast punishment:
Revelation 14:12-13 (NIV) - 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
If you have the patience to accept dying as a martyr instead of taking the mark, your works will follow you, meaning reward you (Rev 20:12). You'll make the rapture (although technically in the first resurrection that comes right before the rapture).
But, few will choose martyrdom for obvious reasons. By all accounts, the whole world will be coerced into taking the mark in exchange for being able to stop the locust torture and to feed themselves and their family. Not only will they be hungry from the famine left in the wake of Planet Wormwood but they will literally be deceived with signs and wonders into believing that God himself is sitting on the throne in the Third Temple at Jerusalem (2Th 2:4). We're told that only the "very elect" will see through this "strong delusion" (2Th 2:11).
This brings us full circle. If the Antichrist is so deceptive that most believe he is God and accept his mark, how could a loving and fair God punish them forever...for being "tricked?" Think of how many pretrib-rapture-indoctrinated Christians will justify accepting the mark with good intentions like, "If this was the mark of the beast, we wouldn't be here!" or "I'm doing this to feed my family like God expects me to" (See 1Ti 5:8 KJV).
As for me, I'm convinced Revelation 14 does not teach God eternally torments tricked, deceived or ignorant people, although they do pay a limited price for their apathy, choices, and sins, reaping what they sow—to a reasonable extent.
Objection: "Shame On You For Encouraging The Mark!"
When some Christians read the teaching above, they get upset. They object along the following lines:
You are lessening the consequence of receiving the Mark of the Beast. This is 'removing, taking away' from the Book of Revelation. If not for anything else, at least I ask you not to continue this teaching that clearly violates the teaching of the Book of Revelation, considering the grave consequence this could have on people's soul.
Shame on you for sending out the deceit of being able to receive the mark and not be damned! Think about it, if you really are a Christian, which now after you making that statement, you probably aren't, but if you are, and someone receives the mark based upon your article, how in Jesus' Name will you address that to God?
How do I respond to these accusations?
I realize that the above is a radical teaching, one that deviates from Christian tradition. As such, these Christians are feeling outrage at hearing it taught that God's punishment of a sin is not as harsh as they understood. It must sound like a watering down of God's judgment, like I'm soft on sin or even "denying the plain, clear word of God!" Christian evangelism depends heavily on frightening the unsaved with the threat of "eternal torment" to get them saved. How can they motivate unbelievers if you take that leverage away? Besides, "why would anyone do that unless they simply don't care about saving people?" Further, "what about all the people who listen to Tim McHyde and take the mark of the beast because of it?!"
To address the last point first, I don't know how anyone would perceive my teaching about the true Biblical dangers of the mark of the beast...as an "endorsement of the mark." But even if strangely someone did, God has that covered! In fact, he has all the many misunderstandings that Christians teach on eschatology (including the pretrib rapture) covered. Prophecy tells us Elijah is coming to set things straight and restore all things, and his reach will be global in all nations to lead people to repent (Mt 24:14). Yet more specifically, another prophecy says that right before the mark of the beast arrives, there will be another warning message delivered to the entire earth saying... wait for it...
"DON'T TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST or you will suffer the fiery wrath of God with such torment that you have no rest day or night!" (Rev 14:9–11, paraphrased).
This is the very passage we've been focusing on in this article. It says exactly what my teaching is above, "don't take the mark or you will face the fire," will go out to the world through God's prophetic channels (starting with an angel). No one will be able to miss it. People will hear good reasons for not taking the mark; not just suffering God's wrath (most likely resulting in your death, which is bad enough), but also missing the rapture. Even if you approve of Jesus and his teachings on love, he'll still tell you "depart from me I never knew you" (Mt 7:21-23). Isn't all of that enough of a deterrent to taking the mark?
God: Bad News or Good News?
As you can probably already surmise, not only do I disagree with the Christian concept that Revelation 14 teaches that God punishes the wicked with "eternal torment," I also disagree that any other verse teaches this concept, also known as the Christian teaching of "going to hell." I do not see this teaching in the Bible. Moreover, I do not find a way to harmonize that doctrine with a fair and loving God.
That said, I do not judge Christians who disagree with me or who never question the Christian doctrine of hell. Some verses certainly seem to support it (without careful, diligent, prayerful study). Christian religious leaders are assumed to know more than lay Christians do and to do the Bible interpretation better than they ever could. Most also never imagine that Jesus' warning about "many coming in my name saying I am Christ and deceiving many" could possibly apply to them or to the many Christians (Mt 24:4-5). Simply put, it's not easy to find the truth today and most are not equipped to do it.
Yet, I wonder if the Christians who never question hell are not lacking something that the woman I quoted at the start of the article had? Like her, they are not so worried about their own salvation or going to hell personally. But unlike her, they may not have a close loved one whose salvation they are deeply concerned about to provoke them to think and pray long over them being in hell. I doubt they ever considered that if that loved one did not get "right with God," how they would have to watch them "suffer in hell" for eternity, like she did. I doubt they have considered whether they could enjoy eternity (or serve God) knowing that this horror was happening in the background, like she did. It's so easy to be distracted from these issues or to immediately put such uncomfortable thoughts out of our mind when they appear, or to simply say, "they had/made their choice to be wicked, they have no excuse because look at me, I did it, I chose differently, so anyone could do it, too..." All this makes it easy to continue on for decades believing a false doctrine, even if it makes God out to be "...the most unpleasant character in all fiction" (—Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion).
Thankfully, the Bible (properly interpreted without prejudice or religious bias—no small feat!) teaches a different God, one who is fair, not capricious nor a sadist, and who wishes the best for us. He does not enjoy seeing us suffer or having curses (Dt 5:29=John 10:10) although he knows best that these things are necessary for our training (Heb 5:7-9). God will not sentence deceived (Rev 12:9), ignorant (Mt 9:36) humans to eternal torment. They will suffer enough by realizing later that they missed out on salvation in the first go round (Lk 13:28) and by also losing their physical life after great pain (most likely). After that, he'll raise them up and give them another chance at life—this time with the deception and ignorance issues addressed and resolved (Rev 20:10, Hab 2:14).
Those who are righteous now when it's super hard, will have not only God's present help, but also a greater reward with Christ. In this way, God is fair and good to both the wicked and the just, both now and later, rewarding both "according to their works" (Mt 5:45). That, truly, is good news and reflects a truly good God. (Compare that to the so-called "good news" of Christian evangelists delivered to the unsaved: "Hello. You are a sinner destined for eternal hell torment unless you accept Jesus!" That's not good news. That's bad news about life and reflects poorly on the God who supposedly designed all this to be so unfair.)
That's how I see it and I share it for your consideration for what it's worth.
Finally, regarding the accusation in the second quotation above that suggested I'm "not a Christian:" I must agree that if I don't follow Christian tradition, but follow what I see in the Word of God, I don't exactly qualify as a Christian. But when did Jesus say our goal was to be a Christian, or accepted by Christians? Jesus talked about being his brother or family (Lk 8:21) and that's what I hope I qualify for by my choice to follow God's Word directly and not tradition or religion (Mt 5:20=Lk 8:21).
Receive Tim's Prophecy Updates By Email
Join 30,000 subscribers receiving Tim's new articles and updates by email. Understanding Bible prophecy better will dispel your end time fear and bless you (Rev 1:3).
Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.
Do you ever consider other possibilities, such as the 14year tribulation?
Daniel 9:27 has an entire eschatology built upon ‘one week’ phrase.
I am troubled that we as a church are clinging to beliefs that were inherited before the book of Daniel would be opened.
Any thoughts on this?
Kenn, Sure, I consider everything with so many people writing me all the time. The book of Daniel, even sealed, is pretty clear there is one 70th week left. That means 7 years = sabbath year cycle in my opinion, but even if I’m wrong, I don’t see any reason to expect a 14 yr trib.Reply
Happy Sabbath Tim and all.
This issue of “fairness” is interesting. We are trying to attribute our modern day, politically correct, concept of fairness to our God’s thoughts and actions. Not possible! His ways are not our ways. His will is supreme and His judgments are righteous. He also has favourites and chosen ones (Israel, Jerusalem, Abraham, Moses, Yahshua, etc.) Look at Mt. 20:12 and Ezekiel 18, we humans might think something is unfair but that doesn’t make it so with Yahweh. We are unfit to judge the ways and will of the Eternal…..so like you said, get over it (and ourselves)! Our duty is to obey and serve…..right?
Tim thank you for the article. It has left me quite confused. Here are my concerns
1. There are going to be the survivors (after the wrath of God) that means there will be the non survivors. What did the non survivors do, to be in this category? and what happens to them? are they supposed to draw comfort from the ever loving God who reverses the mark of the beast from the survivors? (correct me if am stating this out of context)
2.God sent his people today and have preached, Elijah will come and preach and warn the people, an angel will go out, the 144,000 …….Don’t you think taking the mark is a complete rebellion to God, and God reversing the mark later portrays Him as a “barking ‘Dog’?”
3.If the Story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not a tale and the Story of Noah…Floods wiping the entire creation except for Noah and his Sons and the creatures he was asked to put on a board on the boat, This sparing of the disobedient receivers of the mark of beast surely portrays God as a double standard God!!!
3.God is Love and even when HE expelled Satan and condemned (satan) to Hell fire with here followers….He still remained a God of Love who does not Change. Does he feel pain seeing this creation in this state? I dont know for sure…..Does God feel pain when a Tsunami kills Indians and American?I don’t know for sure..e.t.c BUT YES HE REMAINS A GOD OF LOVE.
Please shed some more light.
Richard, “sparing the marked?” Those who took the mark will go through ten days of the 7 bowls of the wrath of God where they get “no rest day or night” with at least 66% dying from it (Zec 13:8). If they can survive that and live with their shame and swallow their pride and anger while they are forced to worship God in the Millennium or receive no rain (Zec 14:17), then more power to them. Dying would be arguably easier, but we need survivors for the glorified to rule. (What good is the promise “You’re going to be kings with Christ” when there’s only 8 people alive to rule and you wait hundreds of years for them to multiply??)
But if you’re suggesting having some survivors of God’s wrath would be unfair of God to those killed in Lot’s or Noah’s day, then maybe—if you ignore the 8 survivors of the flood and the 4 survivors of Sodom? However…God is not fair when it comes to who lives and dies in this world and the Bible not only never promises that, but states the opposite: unfairness about who lives and who dies (Ecc 9:11-12)! Realistically, there’s no way God could make it all fair in the short-term while allowing free will to play out with his higher goals. Nevertheless, he will in the long term make sure everyone gets a full life and full chance of knowing the full truth to choose or reject it.
By the way, “it/that’s not fair!” is one of the major issues I have to address with believers wanting to walk on the narrow path (Mt 7:13). Our parents hopefully told us “life is not fair” but most of us struggle to get over this issue. If we don’t, we won’t be able to maintain faith that “God is good…no matter what” including what we see, hear, feel, think or experience (Heb 10:6=Mk 10:18). So to answer your question what I would tell the people who died in God‘s wrath about the people who survived? “Life is not fair. Get over it.”Reply
Fair to whom? Fair to themselves. Which is how most people define fair. Paraphrased/quoted from a Blue Bloods episode. I thought it was very thought provoking when I heard it.Reply
Fair to themselves, fair to those who died in the flood, Sodom and anywhere else where the person thought the fatality rate was 100% (which it was not).Reply
But doesn’t the bible say that there will be an angel warning people not to take the mark. And wouldn’t people know what they are doing 100%?Reply
Isaac, read it again carefully. It only says John saw three angels with three messages for the world. It never depicts anyone but John hearing the angel or the angel in front of people receiving it. This makes sense because only prophets, righteous individuals or very small groups (shepherds at Jesus’ birth) receive messages from angels in Scripture, not large crowds.Reply
If knowing what we know to be true which is the threat from God for taking it…you have chosen to drink from the cup of judgement which is mixed to be extremely painful and forever tormenting those who chose to worship the beast or have taken his mark(token) of alliegence to its still taking the damnation upon you ..I don’t think theres a temporary taking of this mark and it will somehow disappear or not be held against you because for one thing the act of the will to do so…..acting on choosing to take it hoping God sees and understands whats the difference its still an act of the will . Somethings stirring the heavenlies mostlikely the prince of the air standing above America bringing war and separation, rebellion and chaos…Americas final role is about to begin seems like theres going to be a rough start with us on the field and especially since we backed the idea and wanted to place our embasy there in Jerusalem for years….and all we got was negative responces from the arab community as if we were supposed to treat Israel like dirt….we better keep a firm hold on the Savior here in America because it surely doesn’t look good from where I am and Ive been watching and listening to the wind and we are about there. May God continue to help us in Jesus name, to resist the evil one and all that will come against our flesh in the final hours where the smoke of our nations torment ascends to heaven.Reply
Charles, no one will be going to a window that is presented as, “Choose to drink from the wrath of God!” They will go to something presented as, “Accept food, peace and security from the mighty God on earth, ‘as seen on TV’.” The previous global warning about “don’t take the mark of Beast” will be pushed out of mind by the fraught situation of starvation and abuse by immoral gangs of looting outlaws. So you can say, “they were warned and made their choice” all you want, but in the end, they took the mark under duress and in desperation. No court of law holds people accountable for contracts signed in this situation and God is even more fair than any human court, yes? So yes, it’s temporary, but that does not diminish how costly and horrible it still is!Reply
Hi Tim and all. Happy Sabbath!
Tim, I pray for your health often and I hope you are feeling OK. I think we are getting a glimpse of how the Mark will be marketed and distributed with the COVID vaccines. I work in healthcare and I took the vaccine because it does work and is the right thing to do to protect myself and those around me. There is increasing pressure on those that are anti-vax, there will be restrictions and obstacles going forward. It will be the same for the Mark but much harder. Yahweh is giving us a heads up. I do believe the Mark will be physical, like getting a shot and it will be your identification that you are “pro-Messiah” (the false one of course). The Mark deniers and evaders will be scorned because they are not part of the majority that want a return to “normal” life. There are many brethren that believe the mRNA vaccines are the Mark but I don’t. Like you point out in your 666 article, no spiritual/prophetic markers are in place yet ie. beast, false prophet, seal 6 destruction, Elijah, etc. This round of vaccines is simply medicine. A future injection could be far more nefarious. May Yah give us insight and prophets to make things clear!
I think after Christ returns with the saints to rule the earth for a thousand years, He will be ruling over a very small population, at first, as most will have been killed off in all the plagues and ‘bowl judgments’, the destruction of Babylon the great and the great earthquake that brings all the cities on earth crashing down. Those survivors will likely have all received the ‘mark’ yet will live long enough to produce children and repopulate the planet…somewhat. “He will rule with a rod of iron” I believe Jesus will rule the earth right out of the book of Moses with all its laws and regulations being enforced to the letter. I also think that for the majority of the 1000 years, peace and security will be the result and people will literally have it better than they ever did, any time, anywhere. Even wild animals will be restrained enough for children to play with them and life spans will be extended quite a bit. Unfortunately it won’t be good enough as people will still be resentful, without accepting Christ into their hearts, they will merely be following orders out of fear and not love of Christ to have Him live in them and not just ‘over’ them.
At the end of the 1000 years Satan is let out and leads a revolt that encompasses the entire earth. A number so large it is as the sand of the sea charges for Jerusalem to remove the King who won’t let them do as they please and makes them follow the Law. This is when the remaining people and their offspring, who accepted the ‘mark’, in the old world, are destroyed in holy fire, forever. I doubt that there will be even one person who doesn’t join in the last revolt…and its so sad. I also do not believe anyone will be eternally tormented as the symbolic smoke is more of a reminder of what happened and not smoke from literal burning souls. The lake of fire is permanent death for body and soul. The great judgment then commences and how many millions of years that ‘Day’ will last is anyone’s guess. I expect God will patiently take the time to show people exactly why their names do not appear in the book of life…maybe a recorded video of their whole life will be shown to them. I think many will simply and sadly walk right into the ‘lake’ as they will realize in terrible despair and ‘gnashing of teeth’ what could’ve been….Reply
It does seem right that God would give a second chance to people that had no opportunities in life for what ever reason to accept Christ. But, what about those of us in the USA that have had numerous opportunities? And what about the truly evil people throughout history responsible for the deaths of millions?
Eldridge, first, salvation is not as easy as “accepting Christ” like Christianity says; it’s much, much harder and requires “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 7:12) which is why Christ repeatedly said “few” ever find this “narrow path.” People today are not accountable as ever having had a real “chance” to know the truth because Satan deceives the whole world (Rev 12:9) and we have many factors against us to prevent us from valuing or focusing on God’s way of love if we even hear it explained properly.
For example, take Hitler. Some joke that he was just a “frustrated painter/artist rejected from art school (twice)” so, in a way, it’s the art school who caused WW2! It’s a joke, but there’s of course a truth behind the joke: people become who they are because of many contributing factors (nature, nurture, rejection, etc.) which in this world under Satan’s lies and rule are nearly all against us learning, seeing, understanding or doing God’s way of love (Mt 7:12).
So, it’s important to think about this first 6000 years not as a chance/period to *disqualify* people (based on once having “heard about Christ” or “heard the Gospel”) but rather as a period to *qualify* those “few” who against all odds (and obstacles above) *did* come to learn, choose, and live the truth of God. Because it’s so hard, this is why we such a special reward of ruling for 1000 years. The rest really were never expected to get saved in this environment. The main purpose of this time, instead of giving a chance to disqualify the wicked, is rather to show that man living Satan’s way in rebellion without God doesn’t work…yet God always did make it possible for the gifted to still find the truth and live it, as a testimony against the rest who might say, “it isn’t fair, we had no chance with the deception and oppression…”Reply
Tim, Well put! I will have to remember that one! Qualify vs Disqualify. It simplifies it greatly.Reply
I really think the following is a “qualifier” as to HOW God will mete out punishment ; “Revelation 14:9-11 — 9 …If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark… 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God..”.—-There is an obvious distinction made in this example, imho, that seems to indicate that there are “receivers” and then there are ” receivers who worship”. I hail from Jewish ancestry in my mom’s and dad’s DNA Pool, both Sephardic and Ashkenazi. ( recently discovered by DNA analysis) and my family’s legacy is comprised of Conversos, Jews who PRETENDED to be Catholic in order to escape the Inquisition’s Tribunal’s. What I’m getting at is that many of my Jewish ancestors “worshiped” Catholic Style when being watched but when alone, beat their chests in sorrow and continued keeping Torah. We must remember HOW God judges ! He judges after the Heart of Man and not necessarily by what Man SEES. Great article Tim !Reply
Hi, I read Zech.14:14 in the ESV and the KJV and it says,
“Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. ”
I cant see where you get the idea that Judah fights against Jerusalem, it says fight at Jerusalem.Reply
Chris, sorry, it’s ERV and RSV version and a couple others that say “against Jerusalem” because they get the same idea from the entire chapter that all nations are gathered there and the LORD fights against them, “even/also Judah.” I corrected the version references and added further clarification to the article to help flesh out that Judah is not an exception but among the bad guys at Jerusalem. Thanks.Reply
Yeah it says ‘Bee’ (in/at) Jerusalem in the Hebrew as well, but where it says the nations fight against Jerusalem the word ‘al’ is used. (against)Reply
By the way, what versions are you using?
I noticed in your Zechariah 14:16 you left out “And it shall come to pass”, “then” was used instead of “that”, and on and on in a lot of other verses.
Since the NIV is really a disaster, the publisher also publishes the “Satanic Bible” and the “Joys of Gay Sex”, it would help to tell people what Versions you are using for all your Scripture references. I have not been on your site long enough to see if you have a “blanket” statement somewhere, maybe it would help us quick visitors, to have a disclaimer on every article where you “back up” your beliefs with Scripture.
This is NOT an attack. I write these words with no emotion, just FYI.Reply
Matt, that rare omission of Bible version (now fixed, thanks) came from a copy/paste error breaking up the citation above of earlier verses of Zech 14 (where if you had looked, it says RSV and “continuing on in the passage…”).Reply
The 144,000. My Pastor in Calif. Jim Spillman, not only knew the Greek……he also taught it at Melody Land school of the Bible in Anaheim , Calif. If you look in the Greek texts ……the 144,000 is plural. There is a s sigma after that number. Therefore it is NOT a literal number. The group is probably the church that never left in the first place…..no pre-trib rapture ! They are not necessarily Jews but the group contains Jews. Besides, the only Jews are the tribes of Benjamin & Judah. There are not 12 tribes of Jews. The 10 tribes took the family name …ISRAEL. He thought the 144,000 was the “great multitude ” in Rev. 7:9 . Your comment ? Doug DJReply
Dougls, I’m not a ancient Greek scholar so I rely on the expertise of those who are that write the many Bible versions I compare, none of which translate it as “144,000s.” The better question is why is “144,000” being a literal number as consistently translated such a problem for you? You do realize these are not the only ones God saved, but there is “the Woman” group in Jordan?Reply
Tim I have to disagree
I think your efforts to dispel fears is laudable but you may be generating false hope…
Zecheriah refers to unbelievers who are not killed in God’s wrath, they then populate the millenium bending the knee to Christ due to His rod of iron (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15) and will turn on him again at the end when Satan is released for the final battle (Rev 20:7-8) before the great white throne judgement.
This explains how we can rule and reign with Christ (Ps 8; Heb 2:5-9; Rev 20:4,6), and it explains Isaiah’s prophecy that those who are 100yrs old will be considered young (Isa 65:20)
Matthew, thanks for the comment…but I cannot follow your point. We both agree that unbelievers who survived Satan’s and God’s wrath populate the Millennium. I’m missing how you think a single one of these unbelievers remained alive without first accepting the mark? 😐Reply
Great discernment Tim, I’ve realized that there must be survivors of the tribulation according to Zechariah 14 for some time, but to know the “mark of the beast” is not fatal, as in complete destruction of ones life, instills hope for loved ones to one day make the right choice of choosing God’s way !
Pressing Onward RickReply
Oh my God! Tim this teaching as so many others of yours are ever so refreshing. They are really an oasis in the desert of wrong teachings that have been handed down all through ages or millenia. Thanks again for yet another painstaking job. Regards to your family.Reply
“… an oasis in the desert of wrong teachings …”
I couldn’t agree more – thank you!Reply
Tim, in the article you said that God would not be fair and just to allow those who fall for the Antichrist’s “strong delusion”.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 the Bible clearly states that during the end times it is God Himself that sends the “strong delusion” “ so that they will believe the lie and so all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness “
The beast only deceives them after they take his mark (Revelation 19:20)
The short answer is …God sends “a strong delusion “ not the Antichrist.
Why ? Because they chose time after time to reject the offer of salvation ( 2 Thessalonians 2:12)
They heard the gospel preached by preachers in churches, on Radio, on TV, on Social Media,etc…, they heard the gospel preached , by the 144,000 Jews , they heard the Gospel preached by an Angel ( Rev 14:6) …. “preached to every nation , every tribe, language and people “ .
To hear and know the truth and to refuse to obey it is to experience the “wrath of God”.
Romans 1:18 “ The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness “.
By refusing to repent and receive the free gift of salvation the unbeleiver keeps hardening his heart and eventually ensure God’s condemnation ( there is sure condemnation for all those who are not in Christ Jesus)
Now I can appreciate the sense of relief you want to offer regarding a “ reversible” “mark of the Beast”… but the context and meaning of Revelation 14:9-11 seems to indicate otherwise. The context of Rev 14:11 is clearly indicated from Rev 14:10.
in Revelation 14:11 we read:
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name”
What smoke is the text referring to ?
Well from Revelation 14:10 we read …..”He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…”
the smoke mentioned in Revelation 14:11 is clearly a result of the “ fire and brimstone “ mentioned in Revelation 14:10
In Revelation 14:9-10 …the passage clearly states that those who take the mark of the beast shall experience the wrath of God and “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone “
That’s where the “smoke “ is coming from… ( fire and brimstone) in other words the the fire and brimstone they are being tormented in creates smoke … smoke forever from a fire and brimstone…that torments than forever.
Revelation 14:11 also emphasizes …”they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name “
This is very graphic…. forever tormented in fire and brimstone with no rest, no break…
God’s Love cannot And will not
Overrule God’s Justice. God’s Justice demands payment for the penalty of sin, Jesus Christ offered himself as the atonement for sin and for all those who received that offer , all those…benefited from the Love of God While satisfying the Justice Of God. All those who rejected that offer failed to satisfy the Justice Of God and eventually experienced the wrath of God.
Thank you for all the hard work you do in the area of escathology . Stay Blessed.
Ernst, you’re welcome. Really this study did not come from a desire to make God fair as much as desire to make sense of what does not make sense. A literal interpretation of “smoke rising forever” does not work for me, so I kept reading and found Zechariah and many other passages against eternal torment. You are correct that those who sin get what they deserve and are “without excuse” as Paul says because they “received not a love for the truth.” The only question here is what do they deserve “inexcusably” as a reasonable judgment for the choice they made after being raised and living in an environment where the truth was rare and not filling the whole earth (Hab 2:14) and Satan deceives the whole earth (Rev 12:9) in its place? Many think because “I could choose right so everyone can, too, as I’m not special!” not realizing to “receive a love for the truth” does make you special as not everyone does nor can they as Paul said the good news is foolishness to the minds of those perishing (1Co 1:18) which Jesus taught is the majority (Mt 7:13).Reply
There are many verses in the bible, including this one:
Rev 13:8 – And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
…that seems to suggest that God predestined certain people for certain parts of God’s plan – . Other verses that say this include:
2 Timothy 1:9
Proverbs 16:4 The Lord made everything for it’s purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
I’ve read these verses many times but for some reason, they’re jumping out at me now more than ever before.
I’m curious about your thoughts on this idea of predestination. Did God just know in advance who would respond to the calling and who would not? Or did he appoint certain people for different purposes as it seems to say?
I have had similar questions! It has become more evident the more I think about “The Kingdom of Heaven”. That and actually visualizing that GOD is outside of time as we know it. He not only knows the end from the beginning, he is there right now!
Does predestination and the teaching of once saved always saved have some connection?
What about those that at one time made a profession and then fell away. Will they hear “Depart from me…”. What about predestination in that case? Will they recognize Elijah and change? Many questions in that regard. I guess only God knows the heart.
I believe that when we are called, we are called to a purpose. (Rom 8:28) To be the first fruits and rule with Christ for 1,000 years, not to sit around in Heaven. We need to spend this life preparing for that purpose.
Since there appears to be a lot of evidence showing “some form” of predestination it seems safe to say that’s its taking place–Just look at some prophectic examples: The 144,000, set times within the 70th week, writings in the book of life PRIOR TO the start of the Millennium, and many others. Heck, when we think of these two end time prophets can we really believe that they haven’t been pre-selected (in some manner)?? Or is God somehow leaving that up to chance? However, we’re looking at this problem from the perspective of a “time-based” four dimensional reality. Also, when we look at our reality and see the “cyclical nature” of everything (even the Bible/God functions in this manner) then it’s very safe to say that, at the macro level, everything is predictable–How that’s impacted by micro-level events, choices, interactions, is beyond us.
The really interesting question, in my opinion, is “why” God seals up prophecy AFTER humans are translated…Could it be that “seeing into the future” will be prevented. If so, why? But if we attempt to see it from God’s perspective (and I’m just guessing here) it may be that future sight isn’t all that exciting and is probably quite boring especially when it’s no longer “needed” (to ensure certain things happening). Watching your children grow, without anticipating their every move/choice/etc.., is where the wonder actually comes from–not from knowing everything. But we’ll have to see. In any case, I think the really interesting parts will come after that time where an infinite future awaits.Reply
This is what the Bible saysReply
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 (NASB)